Korea's jobless rate rises to 3.4% in Oct.

Korea's jobless rate rises to 3.4% in Oct.

South Korea’s jobless rate rose in October from a year earlier, with the unemployment for young people still remaining high on a lingering economic slump, a government report showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate in Asia’s fourth-largest economy stood at 3.4 percent last month, compared with 3.1 percent tallied a year earlier, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea.

The number of employed people stood at 26.6 million in October, up 278,000 from a year earlier, staying below the 300,000 level for two months in a row.

The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, reached 8.5 percent last month, up from 7.4 percent recorded a year earlier but down from the previous month’s 9.4 percent.

The statistics agency said the manufacturing sector, the key industrial pillar of the South Korean economy, has fallen into a slump for more than a year amid contracted demand at home and abroad.

The number of newly employed people by manufacturing businesses fell by 115,000 last month from a year earlier, extending its losing streak for four straight months and marking the largest monthly drop in more than seven years.

The manufacturing sector newly hired around 150,000 people every month throughout last year, with the number peaking at 191,000 in October last year.

But the figure plunged to 20,000 in June and posted negative growth in July for the first time in 49 months.

“Faltering exports and ongoing corporate restructuring in highly labor intensive businesses like shipbuilding dragged down employment capability,” said Sim Won-bo, head of the agency’s employment statistics division.

“South Korea’s economy depends highly on exports, and exports are closely linked with the manufacturing industry.”

Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw its exports decline 3.2 percent last month, posting the 21st month of negative growth in the recent 22 months due to a global economic and trade slowdown.

The country is also making efforts to reshape shaky sectors like shipbuilding, shipping and steelmaking, which have been suffering massive losses stemming from low oil prices.

On the other hand, a recent boom in the housing market encouraged local builders to hire 59,000 more workers last month, while the accommodation and food service industry employed a new 105,000 people.

The finance ministry said the local job market will face stronger downside risks in the coming future due to the continuing corporate restructuring and the implementation of the new anti-graft law.

“The government will go ahead with economy-stimulus measures to reinvigorate confidence in the private sector and improve employment conditions,” the ministry said in a release.

The anti-graft law, which came into effect on Sept. 28 to control every person-to-person meeting of government officials, teachers and journalists, is feared to hurt private consumption and economic activities to a large extent.


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